PHOENIX — You’ll recognize the uniforms.
But the Dodgers will return to Los Angeles as a different team after completing a six-game road trip with a 13-0 dismissal of the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field Sunday afternoon.
The Dodgers went just 3-3 on the trip to San Francisco and Arizona. But they collected a few tchatchkes along the way.
Corey Seager came off the Injured List on Friday, Mookie Betts on Saturday. Max Scherzer joined the team in Arizona, put his new uniform on for the first time to throw a bullpen session Sunday and will make his Dodger debut on Wednesday. (Trea Turner’s arrival is still TBA.)
What didn’t change in a week is their second-place status in the NL West. The Giants also won Sunday and remain three games ahead of the Dodgers in the division.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has referred to “holding serve” while his team absorbed injuries over the first half of the season. But they are just three games over .500 (15-12) since the start of July and looking to make a push now doesn’t sit well with Betts.
“I think we gotta be like that all year. It’s kind of hard to just turn it on right now,” he said after Sunday’s win. “So I think we’ve got to do a better job of playing with some more urgency. I think that’s what we did really good last year and we haven’t done this year.
“I think we just have to start playing with some more urgency and getting some things to turn our way instead of just waiting for it.”
The Dodgers’ inability to go on the attack after holding serve to date is “not ideal,” Roberts acknowledged.
“I think part of it, a lot of it was the Giants,” Roberts said of the team that beat the Dodgers five out of seven games in the past two weeks. “They got the best of us. They outplayed us, in my opinion. But you’ve still got to play everybody. I think right now, where we’re at there’s a good vibe going on. I definitely see us taking off as the days go.”
The Diamondbacks certainly qualify as an “everybody” the Dodgers had to play. The Dodgers outscored them 26-9 in the three-game series, outhitting them 41-19. Only an extra-innings loss on Friday kept the Dodgers from sweeping in the desert.
They wasted no time taking care of their business Sunday, scoring five times in the second inning off Diamondbacks starter Caleb Smith. Smith faced 13 batters, retiring just five — the same number he walked. Albert Pujols chased Smith with a three-run double.
“That two-out double was a back-breaker,” Roberts said of Pujols who drove in six runs during the series.
The Dodgers piled on from there. Justin Turner hit a three-run home run in the seventh. A.J. Pollock had a four-hit game against his former team, now suffering through a 33-73 nightmare. Pollock drove in a pair of runs with two doubles.
Since the start of July, Pollock is batting .389 (37 for 95) with 10 doubles, seven home runs, 15 RBI and an OPS over 1.200.
“The thing with him is he’s aggressive to his zone,” Roberts said. “We call it earning pitches to get into good counts. He’s earning good counts and when he gets a pitch that’s a mistake he’s doing some damage. He’s just consistently taking good at-bats.”
Betts went 2 for 5 in his return to the lineup, reaching base three times, scoring twice and hitting a home run off the left-field foul pole on a 68-mph — let’s call it a changeup — from Diamondbacks catcher Bryan Holaday who was chosen to take his lumps on the mound in the ninth.
Betts made his return to the lineup at second base and quickly showed it was not unfamiliar territory. He made a running, over-the-shoulder catch of a broken-bat blooper in the first inning then turned a double play on his own in the eighth.
“I’ve been playing outfield so going and getting the ball was nothing new,” Betts said. “I just saw I could catch it so I told Seags I got it as we were running. Wasn’t anything I wasn’t used to.”
That was all that passed for entertainment when the Diamondbacks were batting. Julio Urias handled the first five innings, allowing four hits (only one advanced to second base) while striking out seven. Relievers Phil Bickford, David Price and Yefry Ramirez (freshly arrived from Triple-A) completed the shutout with four hitless innings.
But Urias was once again a double threat — his presence brings the best out of the Dodgers’ offense. Sunday was the eighth time in his 22 starts the Dodgers have scored at least nine runs.
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